Dogma is a belief so strongly held that it becomes the truth. It’s an ideology so stubbornly held that it doesn’t allow for any new evidence or ideas to change it. It especially resists conflicting ideas from the outside world.
Your dogmatic beliefs might be around your sales process. Or maybe you have a dogmatic attachment to some sales methodology. Maybe you are dogmatic in your belief that you shouldn’t have to prospect in this age of inbound marketing and social media. Or perhaps your dogma is something else.
What makes dogma so dangerous is that it doesn’t allow for new and conflicting information. And in a world that is changing ever faster, holding onto to old beliefs—beliefs that may no longer serve you—is a dangerous business.
Here’s a quick example. I have a deeply held belief that cold calling is the most effective method for prospecting. But if that belief were so strong that I believed that no other method of prospecting could be effective, that would be unhealthy. It would eliminate other effective methods of prospecting, maybe even my dream client’s preferred method of being approached.
Here’s how you avoid dogma.
Allow Your Beliefs to Be Questioned
Anything that fails to grow dies. Anything that refuses to take in things from the outside world dies too. If you refuse to allow what you now believe to be questioned, you are refusing to take in information from the outside. Are your beliefs so strong that you bristle when you hear ideas that conflict with them? Does that ever happen to you?
The first step in avoiding having your beliefs become dogma is not to judge all ideas by your existing beliefs. Instead, you remain open to new ideas, especially ideas that conflict with your existing beliefs. You hear people out without making any judgments about right or wrong, truth or lie.
It’s not easy, but there is power to be found in taking in new ideas, especially ideas that conflict with your existing beliefs.
Purposely Seek Conflicting Ideas
An even more powerful way to avoid having your beliefs become dogma is to purposely seek out conflicting ideas. Ideas that are in direct conflict with what you believe can be powerful in improving your results.
Instead of reflexively rejecting ideas that conflict with your beliefs, try to find out why others value those ideas. Try to find the truth in the ideas that conflict with what you believe. Try to discover when those ideas could be valuable.
The more tools you have in your toolkit, the more prepared you are to deal with different circumstances. Being agnostic means being open to using whatever works and whatever the circumstances demand. In a rapidly changing world, you need ideas.
Being agnostic doesn’t mean you don’t believe anything. It means you don’t have a religious devotion to something that you adhere to even when something else might work better. You use what works when it’s useful, and you discard what doesn’t work when it isn’t useful.
If you are agnostic, you can remain open to new ideas. You judge them by their useful under some set of circumstances.
What beliefs do you hold so deeply that they’ve become dogma?
How long has it been since you questioned those beliefs? Have you ever?
How do you ensure that you are continually taking in new ideas?
How do you react to ideas that conflict with your dogmatic beliefs?
How much better would your results be if you were willing to shed some of your dogmas and open up to some new beliefs?